Mesothelioma is a highly lethal cancer caused by brief or minimal asbestos exposure. Many Americans have spent years of their lives working and living in close proximity to asbestos without even realizing the danger associated with the fiber. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma, which may not appear until decades after the asbestos exposure.
Asbestos was widely used on ships and other military vessels before it was banned in 1979. For veterans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is often somewhat easier to determine the source of exposure as many specific duties placed servicemen and women in direct contact with asbestos.
Construction workers were frequently required to work in close proximity to asbestos if not to be involved in its direct handling. Although it has been banned from use since 1979, buildings that were built before 1980 may still contain asbestos and put construction workers at risk.
Although anyone who worked in a factory that produced asbestos-containing products may be in danger, there are some jobs that may have been more dangerous before the asbestos ban. Grinding machine operators and drill press operators may have had a greater risk of exposure.
Throughout most of the 20th century, railroad cars and other equipment were commonly manufactured with significant amounts of asbestos. Those who performed locomotive and brake inspections, repaired signals and couple or separated cars may have been exposed to asbestos.
Contract workers may move around from job to job more than the average person. Because of the many different work environments and requested projects, contract workers could be at risk of exposure to many different toxic substances, including Asbestos.